The reinvention of Harlem Heroes
by Michael Fleisher
, Steve Dillon
and Kevin Walker
is up to part five this prog and I have to say, I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. The original incarnation of The Harlem Heroes by Pat Mills
and Dave Gibbons
apart from all the lead characters being black was about team loyalty, pride in where you come from, good sportsmanship and respect for the opposition balanced against healthy competitiveness, all under a sheen of good old fashioned comic book violence. The new Harlem Heroes seems to be about a bunch of meatheads running around and blowin’ fings up.
The art is by the same team who drew one of the most enjoyable Rogue Trooper
stories of recent years, Cinebar
. Their work there looked exciting and dynamic; here, although solid, it looks static and plodding. To be fair, it might be that the I find the story and characters so un-engaging that it’s me who is interpreting the art this way and, actually, it might be as good as it was before.
Michael Fleisher is definitely a controversial choice for a 2000 AD
script writer. Years before, he had gained a strong reputation amongst comic fans for his work on Jonah Hex
(never read it) published by DC Comics
. More recently, he wrote a limited series for them called Haywire
which I did read and remember quite liking. At this time, editors at 2000 AD were vocal about their irritation at discovering the creator talent only for them to bugger off to America. So I imagine that at a time when the line is expanding and new contributors are required the current Tharg
probably saw stealing at least one of America’s creators back amusing. On the surface, hiring Fleisher probably seemed like a good idea. My recollection is that his pacing on Haywire was similar to that used in the scripting tone at 2000 AD. However, although he observed 2000 AD’s unsentimental and violent story content he never seemed to pick up on the satire, wit, intelligence and investment of ideas that the best of them also contained.
This is why the new Harlem Heroes is populated by charmless meatheads. The big white guy with the guns? He’s a meathead. The moody black guy who leads the team? He’s a meathead. The guy who is good with computers? Unfortunately, he’s a meathead too. Even the woman; she’s a meathead. The bloke who runs the prison from which they escape? Meathead. The bloke who tells them that they have to now run around killing drug dealers? Meathead. The drug dealers? Meatheads. Absolutely everyone is a meathead… except for the accountant character. He’s a weasel.
Labels: 2000 AD, Dave Gibbons, DC, Harlem Heroes, Haywire, Jonah Hex, Kevin Walker, Michael Fleisher, Pat Mills, Rogue Trooper, Steve Dillon, Tharg